WBGO Journal

Saturday 6:30am - 7am

Hosted by Doug Doyle

The WBGO Journal is an award-winning half-hour news magazine that airs Saturdays at 6:30 am. Reports and analysis, informative interviews and features.

The city of Newark, in partnership with its homeless coalition, led by community organizer/activist Kym Gilchrist and Central Ward Councilwoman LaMonica McIver, held a day of service event to mark the MLK holiday, providing hot meals, COVID and HIV testing, as well as other wraparound services. Its all part of the city's ongoing efforts to address homelessness.

The ground-breaking comic strip Doonesbury has been with us for 50 years.

It was the first daily comic strip to win a Pulitzer Prize for tackling social issues, politics and war. The strip also been censored for some of those same reasons.

To celebrate Doonesbury's 50th anniversary, a new history has been published and comes with a thumb drive that has all 15,000 strips. WBGO’s Jon Kalish spoke with its creator Gary Trudeau and prepared this report.

Click above to hear Jon's feature.

Zoom/Doug Doyle

The Summit Interfaith Council in Summit, New Jersey is hosting a special MLK Day event on Monday, January 18.

Two members of the Council, President Rabbi Hannah Orden of Congregation Beth Hatikvah and Vice President Rev. Vernon Williams, Assistant Pastor of Fountain Baptist Church joined WBGO News Director Doug Doyle for a zoom chat about their plans and the need for more education about the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jazz Clubs Reaching Out for Help during Coronavirus Pandemic

Jan 7, 2021
Zoom/Doug Doyle

Birdland recently joined the list of endangered jazz venues using a GoFundMe campaign to try and survive.

WBGO's Director of Editorial Content, author and award-winning jazz writer and columnist Nate Chinen recently wrote a news story about the club's financial struggles.


For the sixth year in a row, MLB Network's Coordinating Producer and New Jersey resident Jed Tuminaro has directed the official MLB World Series film. "2020 World Series Champions: LA Dodgers" featured a dramatic Dodgers victory over the Tampa Bay Rays during the coronavirus pandemic.

From his home in Chatham, NJ, Tuminaro joined SportsJam host Doug Doyle for a zoom chat about the challenges of covering the World Series during an unprecedented season.


Our film critic Harlan Jacobson got the Blues this Christmas by dropping in on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the new film based on an August Wilson play from 1984.

The film is produced by Netflix, which is in the holiday audience and Oscar hunt.  

HJ: Just the sound of the title, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, as it rolls off the tongue, promises some kind of lusty commitment to a life of defiance, like we’re in for a wild ride in a convertible careening out of control. 


New Jersey officials reported Monday an additional 3,186 COVID-19 cases. The total number of cases since Mar. 4 now stands at 435,763. The state also reported 29 new deaths, bringing the death toll to 16,315. Officials are looking into 1,908 probable deaths.


As of Sunday night, 3,607 people are in hospitals for confirmed or suspected cases of the coronavirus; 727 patients are in intensive care, while another 481 are currently on ventilators.


New York City plans to use faith and community leaders to help convince skeptics to take the coronavirus vaccine.

City officials say the way to address the trust gap in minority communities is to give folks vaccine information from people they trust.

Reverend Phil Craig is asking health officials to create a coronavirus vaccination fact sheet for faith leaders. “What is the side effects that may occur for those that may have had it. The Muslim and Hindu communities, they may want to know are there any animal products in the vaccine," he said.

Zoom/Doug Doyle

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, musician, singer, songwriter, producer, arranger, actor, human rights activist and educator Steven Van Zandt launched TeachRock in 2002, an organization providing online music education and many other resources to teachers and students.

Essex County Sets Up Five Sites for Covid Vaccinations

Dec 18, 2020
Wikimedia Commons

Essex County is ready to go with Covid vaccinations. Five sites are set up and waiting for vaccine delivery.

Freeholder President Brendan Gill says there’s a system to insure the process goes smoothly. “There’s a set amount of towns that are assigned to each of those sites,” he said. “Newark, if you are a resident of Newark you can use any of the five since Newark is our largest, obviously, city.”

On this month's broadcast host Michael Hill is joned Mayor Ras Baraka and Dir. of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Wade along with President and CEO of Newark's University Hospital Dr. Shereef Elnehal to talk about all the latest around COVID-19 response in New Jersey’s largest city and the largest vaccination effort in U.S. history. 

alvinailey.org/Zoom/Doug Doyle

As part of the free Ailey Forward first-ever virtual holiday season celebrating six decades of Revelations, comes tonight's world premiere of A Jam Session for Troubling Times on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's website.  It's the latest work from acclaimed Ailey dancer and choreographer Jamar Roberts.

Zoom/Doug Doyle/USAA

The 121st Army-Navy Game, presented by USAA is coming up this Saturday, December 12 at Michie Stadium on the campus at West Point for the first time since 1943, a game that Navy won 13-0.  The game will be televised by CBS.

4-time Super Bowl champion Rocky Bleier, who was injured as an Army Specialist in the Vietnam War, joined SportsJam host Doug Doyle to talk about "America's Game" that symbolizes service and sacrifice.


It’s been a year since the terror attacks in Jersey City that left five people, including the shooters, killed at a kosher grocery. And a detective was shot dead by the same assailants at a nearby cemetery just before the attack at the store.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the attacks were acts of hate and domestic terrorism fueled by anti-Semitism and hatred of the police. On Thursday he held a panel discussion to mark the anniversary of the attacks.

Simon & Schuster

National Baseball Hall of Fame sportswriter, columnist and author Bill Madden says his latest work Tom Seaver: A Terrific Life (Simon & Schuster) is probably the most personal book he's ever written.

The former New York Daily News sportswriter joined SportsJam host Doug Doyle to talk about his unique relationship with the greatest player to ever wear a Mets uniform.

While many beat reporters found Seaver to be arrogant, Madden established a close relationship with the Mets righthander later in his career.

As COVID Spikes, NJ Steps Up to Protect All Workers

Dec 5, 2020

Vaccines in the wings but basic public health measures need to endure.

Reporter Bob Hennelly speaks with News Director Doug Doyle

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

The pandemic has claimed its first major New York City jazz club. Jazz Standard, which opened in 1997, has shut its doors.

The most recent edition of Ask Governor Murphy on WBGO covered a variety of topics and host Nancy Solomon and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy took a barrage of phone calls and social media questions.

Ask Governor Murphy is a WBGO News production in collaboration with WNYC and WHYY.

Click above to hear the entire show.

Eric Drath
Zoom/Doug Doyle

Two-time Emmy Award-winning director, writer and executive producer Eric Drath has done it again.  His latest documentary airing Friday, December 4 at 9pm on Showtime is titled Macho: The Hector Camacho Story.  See the trailer here.

Drath, born and raised in New York City, is the latest guest on SportsJam with Doug Doyle where he talks about his inspiring but tragic in-depth look at one of boxing's all-time greatest fighters and showmen.

Jon Kalish for WBGO News

Back in 1966 when the Vietnam War was raging, folk singer Arlo Guthrie started performing a song called Alice’s Restaurant Massacree.

The 18-minute talking blues tune was about a Thanksgiving gathering in Western Massachusetts, after which Guthrie and a friend were arrested for dumping some garbage in the town of Stockbridge.

The song was turned into a movie and despite its length became a Thanksgiving standard on rock radio.

WBGO’s Jon Kalish tells us how a New York radio station helped launch the song.

Dr. Fuchs
Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs

For many years Ester R. Fuchs’ office was right next to David Dinkins’ office at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. Fuchs is Professor of Public Affairs and Political Science there.

Dr. Fuchs also worked in the Michael Bloomberg administration from 2001 to 2005.

The self-described Pragmatic Utopian spoke to WBGO News Director Doug Doyle via Zoom about her friendship and respect for New York's first and only black mayor.

Wikimedia Commons

The history of jazz in Greenwich Village is in danger of disappearing -- so many buildings important to jazz history have not gotten landmark status.

Dr. Lewis Porter
Bill May for WBGO News

Jazz historian, pianist and retired Rutgers-Newark Professor of Music Dr. Lewis Porter plans to spend more time on his own music these days.

Harlan Jacobson for WBGO News

Hillbilly Elegy came a callin’ on Netflix in time for Thanksgiving to remind us about how complicated the notion of family really is. Our film critic, Harlan Jacobson, takes us to Kentucky for more.

On this month's edition of Newark Today, host Michael Hill is  joined by  Mayor Ras J. Baraka along with Director of Health and Community Wellness Dr. Mark Wade.

They discuss the the latest COVID-19 restrictions in New Jersey's largest city. 

Harlan Jacobson for WBGO News

You don’t have to go to the movies—or pull them up online—to get a sense of the generational discontent that drove the election this week. Our film critic, Harlan Jacobson, goes to the movies to read what’s been on the kid’s minds.


When New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy instituted new restrictions to mitigate a further spike in COVID-19, bars and restaurants in the state were just starting to get used to operating indoor dining again with seating at just  25% of the dining room’s capacity. Murphy has kept the capacity limit in place, but has prohibited dine-in service between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and has prohibited bar seating.


Some establishments will be less hampered by the new restrictions.


Jerry Izenberg
Zoom/Doug Doyle

Newark native and legendary sports writer Jerry Izenberg is already in 16 Halls of Fame but he had never written a novel, until now.  

In a Zoom chat from his Henderson, Nevada home, Izenberg spoke to SportsJam host Doug Doyle about his new novel After The Fire: Love and Hate in the Ashes of 1967 (Admission Press) and share some treasured stories about growing up in Newark, watching the Newark Bears play baseball at Ruppert Stadium and the day he surprised Don King during a dispute with the legendary boxing promoter.

New Jersey reported another 3,517 cases of coronavirus Thursday, for a cumulative total of 266,986 infections since the start of the pandemic.

Another 18 residents died from COVID-19. There have now been 14,694 lab-confirmed fatalities and another 1,801 probable deaths from the disease.

The state reported 1,827 hospitalizations as well as 360 people in intensive-care units, numbers not seen since early June.

There was a 12% positivity rate for coronavirus tests taken Sunday, and the state’s rate of transmission stood at 1.3.

Alexandra Hill / News


Newark Mayor Ras Baraka is sounding the alarm as cases in the city rise to levels not seen since the height of the pandemic back in April. Baraka is now defending his decision to implement even stricter COVID restrictions across New Jersey’s largest city.

Baraka says all non-essential businesses in Newark must now close at 8pm two hours earlier than the state’s 10pm shut down order. Baraka says he has received push back from business owners to elected officials but says for him its about saving lives.